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March 13

10:00 am-noon

Open to the Public – Free


Speaker: Steve Mulqueen, Geologist

Petroleum seeps consist of the natural migration of crude oil, bitumen, asphaltum, gas, vapors and groundwater. They are truly one of nature’s great mysteries. In California there are several hundred general localities of petroleum seeps known to occur in at least 29 counties. Crude oil and gas are formed deep within the Earth’s crust from the alteration of organic-rich sediment by the action of heat, pressure and anaerobic bacteria. Petroleum becomes trapped in geologic structures or within porous rock units and is forced to the surface through a complex permeable pathway.

Steve will be discussing how petroleum forms, its complex journey to the surface and petroleum seeps’ unusual surface occurrences. Seeps can contain a paleontological bonanza, the most famous being those at Ranch La Brea in Los Angeles. Over 55 oil fields in California have been discovered by drilling alongside the natural surface occurrence of petroleum.

This lecture will dwell deep into the mysteries associated with natural petroleum seeps.